Northern India sees its best weather between October and March, when it is still sunny but not too humid. In the south, the best time to visit India is between November and March. Weather in the south is unpredictable, though, so be prepared for heat and the possibility of showers at any time.
National Parks, including Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh are open from October until the end of June. February onwards provides the best chance of animal sightings. For clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures while trekking in Himachal Pradesh, Kumaon and Sikkim, visit in October and November or from February to May. Ladakh is at its best from June until September.
National parks in central and northern India, including Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh, are open from October until the end of June. The best time to visit is typically in the hotter months when there is less foliage and tigers seek out watering holes. February and March are great times to visit, but be aware that from mid April through May and June, it will be very hot.
India has some spectacular mountain scenery which is best experienced on a trek. Those hiking in Himachal Pradesh, Kumaon and Sikkim will want to visit during October and November or from late February to mid May. Hiking around Ladakh is best from June until the end of September.
What is the best time of year to visit India?
Northern India’s best weather (including Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan) falls between October and March when it is sunny but less humid, and the nights are cooler. The shoulder months of September and April are also good, with high temperatures in the middle of the day but lovely, balmy mornings and late afternoons. In September you might experience some showers. From the end of December until mid January it can be foggy in the mornings and evenings and cooler at night, but during the day the weather is great for sightseeing. July and August can be very wet.
Those visiting Southern India will want to head there between November and March. The main monsoon season falls during the summer, May and June being particularly humid. You might see some rain in November and December, but showers tend to be short. You should, however, be prepared for some rain at all times so make sure you pack accordingly. Southern India is fairly hot all year round.
Festivals in India
When it comes to celebrations, India really knows what it’s doing. One of the biggest festivals is Diwali, the festival of light. It is usually celebrated from mid October into November, but the date changes every year. This is a wonderful time to be in northern India – though as with all good celebrations, it can get quite noisy! On the 14th January every year, the skies of Jaipur are filled with colourful kites. The Kite Festival coincides with the day of Makar Sankranti that marks the transition of the sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn.
Perhaps India’s most famous festival is Holi Festival which usually takes place in March, although the exact dates change each year. This is celebrated across northern India. People throw coloured powder paint at each other, signifying the victory of good over evil.
The Pushkar Camel Fair, which takes place and the end of October/beginning of November, brings together thousands of camels, horses and cattle and draws huge crowds. One of India’s most interesting festivals takes place in Nagaland in the far north-east corner of the country. Spanning ten days at the beginning of December, the Hornbill Festival is a celebration of Naga culture with each of the region’s 16 tribes taking part in numerous dance performances and games.